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Tips for Atheist Travelers

by Benjamin Kerns

Feb 26, 2020

© Avner Richard | Dreamstime.com
Jerusalem holds a distinct place in history, developed between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago as a central location of several of the world’s religions. It is home to a wealth of beautifully preserved spiritual and religious sites, such as what is believed to be the world’s first temple, built in 957 B.C.; The Garden Tomb which some Protestant Christians believe to be the site of Jesus’ burial and resurrection; and the beautiful Old City, defined by walls built in 1538.

Tips / Other

The percentage of people who identify as non-religious has been on a steady rise. But the vast majority of the world is still wary of atheism, and it’s even punishable by death in a few countries. It’s important to keep the local culture in mind when traveling.

 

If you’re an atheist in a highly religious country, you can get along just fine by respecting the local culture. It’s inappropriate in just about every situation to try and force other people to conform to your beliefs. Fortunately, you’ll find locals tend to have a “live and let live” mentality in most places you visit.

 

When given the opportunity, participate in local religious events. That’s not to say you should sacrifice your beliefs, but you can’t truly experience a culture without participating in its most important aspects. You don’t have to pray to a God you don’t believe in, but you also shouldn’t reject someone’s hospitality if they offer to have you over for Christmas dinner.

 

Always be wary of your surroundings. Countries like Afghanistan and Malaysia can be dangerous places for people who are openly atheist. However, travelers are generally left alone as long as they don’t attempt to dissuade people from practicing their religions. There are certain places where it’s best to keep it to yourself.

 

Finally, do some research before booking a flight. There are plenty of countries that are actually popular among atheist travelers due to the lack of religious focus. Cuba is famously non-religious in public sectors, even though most of the population practices Roman Catholicism. Many East Asian countries also eschew religious beliefs altogether, and are perfectly safe for non-Christians or Muslims.

 

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